Building state and citizenry: A randomized evaluation of a tax-collection campaign in the D.R. Congo

Last registered on May 25, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Building state and citizenry: A randomized evaluation of a tax-collection campaign in the D.R. Congo
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001316
Initial registration date
July 23, 2016
Last updated
May 25, 2020, 7:58 AM EDT

Locations

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
LSE

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2016-03-29
End date
2017-12-22
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The Provincial Government of Kasai Central, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is conducting its first citywide on-the-ground property and rental tax collection campaign in the provincial capital, Kananga. The primary intervention randomly assigns certain neighborhoods to receive this new door-to-door tax collection program, aided by tablet computers and handheld thermal receipt printers. Control neighborhoods remain in the existing regime, in which citizens are supposed to go to the tax ministry themselves to pay taxes (and as a result, tax payment is very low). This study attempts to measure the impact of the program on citizen beliefs about the government and citizen efforts to hold the government accountable. In other words, the study exploits random variation in taxes paid to examine the theorized link between taxation and civic engagement. Additionally, two cross-randomized interventions are used to study how to limit bribe taking among tax collectors administering this new program. First, a collector monitoring (“audit”) intervention is randomly assigned among neighborhoods that receive the on-the-ground taxation program. Second, a citizen-empowerment information intervention is randomly assigned among all neighborhoods in the city.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Weigel, Jonathan. 2020. "Building state and citizenry: A randomized evaluation of a tax-collection campaign in the D.R. Congo." AEA RCT Registry. May 25. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1316-5.199999999999999
Former Citation
Weigel, Jonathan and Jonathan Weigel. 2020. "Building state and citizenry: A randomized evaluation of a tax-collection campaign in the D.R. Congo." AEA RCT Registry. May 25. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1316/history/69142
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The primary intervention randomly assigns certain neighborhoods to receive an on-the-ground property tax collection program, aided by tablet computers and handheld thermal receipt printers. This study will attempt to measure the impact of the program on citizen beliefs about the government and citizen efforts to hold the government accountable. Specifically, the study will exploit random variation in taxes paid to examine the theorized link between taxation and civic engagement. Additionally, two cross-randomized interventions will be used to study how to limit bribe taking among tax collectors administering this new program. First, a collector monitoring (“audit”) intervention will be randomly assigned among neighborhoods that receive the on-the-ground taxation program. Second, a citizen-empowerment information intervention will be randomly assigned among all neighborhoods in the city.
Intervention Start Date
2016-04-18
Intervention End Date
2016-12-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
For the main intervention (random assignment of on-the-ground tax collection), the main outcome variables are as follows:
- Tax receipts and government revenues: measured using official government data.
- Citizen views about the provincial government: measured with survey questions
- Citizen participation with provincial government: measured by attendance at townhall and submission of government evaluations

For the cross-randomized interventions aimed at reducing corruption among tax collectors, outcome variables are as follows:
- Availability of valid receipt: e.g. if a participant has a printed receipt from the program.
- Discrepancies between citizen receipts and official program records: e.g. if a tax collector issues a receipt but does not submit this money to the tax ministry.
- Discrepancies between the amounts citizens report paying and official program data:
- The amount citizens report paying, including bribe amounts less than the official tax.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
See the analysis plan, as well as further information at jonathanweigel.com

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
See the analysis plan, as well as further information at jonathanweigel.com
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
See the analysis plan, as well as further information at jonathanweigel.com

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The information intervention will be administered in randomly selected neighborhoods during a baseline survey conducted before the start of the tax program. Audits will be administered in selected neighborhoods during the roll out of the program, which will take an estimated 6-8 months to complete. Collection of outcomes of the effects on citizens’ expectations of the governments and their efforts to hold it accountable will begin roughly 6 months after program roll out.
Experimental Design Details
See the analysis plan, as well as further information at jonathanweigel.com
Randomization Method
The random assignment of tax collection treatments to polygons will be conducted in Stata using a specified seed.
Randomization Unit
The randomization unit for assigning the tax program, the audit treatment, and the information treatment is the polygon. As noted above polygons are drawn on a satellite map of the city. They follow geographic features that are easily distinguishable from the ground, i.e. streets, ravines, known city administrative boundaries, etc.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
The 431 polygons in the city of Kananga.
Sample size: planned number of observations
The midline sample will have nearly 30,000 observations. The endline sample will have nearly 3000 observations.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
The distribution of sub-treatments across clusters (neighborhoods) is shown below. The tax program includes both the Audit and No Audit columns in the below, meaning that 253 of 431 neighborhoods were assigned to the Tax treatment.

"Audit" "No Audit" "Control"
Info 65 62 88
No Info 60 66 90
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
See the analysis plan, as well as further information at jonathanweigel.com
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Harvard Committee on the Use of Human Subjects
IRB Approval Date
2016-07-21
IRB Approval Number
24087-11
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents

Pre-Analysis Plan (hyperlinks corrected)

MD5: a93c2684d99b489a5571d6c197e2dd64

SHA1: 1761aea6afa24541f864fff4a2bf127c2b409eda

Uploaded At: February 03, 2017

Pre-Analysis Plan

MD5: bdd55cdfc0f1febc4d841b1bd20b9909

SHA1: c2ad74b9339a198f5525a29b141a972e146cebab

Uploaded At: January 22, 2017

Pre-Analysis Plan - Section 6 updated

MD5: 9602ffab9de76f2b9cc925fec1aacde3

SHA1: b0df0825980b3d1e2310f7921a6182ae48fc6bfa

Uploaded At: March 01, 2017

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials